The YGS! Chorus was first established in the summer of 2011. I ran a singing workshop for a few years prior to this called “You Gotta Sing!” My primary reason for starting this as a community choir was to create a safe space for all people to sing together, regardless of their experience as singers or non-singers. I believe that all people can and should have the opportunity to sing with others. As a singing teacher, I have come across too many people who have been shut down and musically wounded by being told to stop singing or that their voices weren’t good enough.
We have somewhere between 40 and 60 singers, depending on the season. There is no audition and there is a full bursary available for those who aren’t able to pay the registration fee, for whatever reason.
We end each season with a Celebration Concert, like the one we are doing this Friday. This is an opportunity for the choir to perform songs from the current season as well as a community singing component that I lead with the entire audience. (Those who wish to can sing along; those who wish to listen can do that also!) Everyone involved in the concert is volunteering their time and talents, and 100% of the net proceeds are donated to, in this case, the Stephen Lewis Foundations’ Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.
We do this in the spirit of “giving back” to the African cultures, whose songs we are singing and to really make a positive difference in the world around us by singing together. The power of community singing can heal not only individuals within our own community, but also within the wider global community!